Strong sales, profit from Walmart on cusp of holiday season

NEW YORK — Walmart topped almost all expectations in the third quarter, an encouraging sign for the upcoming holiday shopping season already beset by snarled supply chains and rising costs.

The Bentonville, Ark., company also raised its full-year earnings guidance and shares rose almost 2% before the opening bell today.

Walmart posted a profit of $3.1 billion, or $1.11 per share, during the three-month period ended Oct. 31. Adjusted results were $1.45 per share, A nickel better than Wall Street had expected, according to a survey a survey of industry analysts by FactSet.

Net profit in the year-ago period was $5.13 billion, or $1.80 per share.

Sales rose 4.1% to $139.21 billion, better than the $135.43 billion industry analysts expected.

Comparable sales at U.S. stores rose 9.2%, an increase from the 5.2% pace during the fiscal second quarter and 6% increase in the first quarter. Online spending growth is being compared with last year’s pandemic-induced shopping sprees. There was a 37% increase in the fiscal first quarter and 69% increase in the fiscal fourth quarter.

The company expects sales at stores opened at least a year to be up around 5% for the current fourth quarter.

Walmart is facing rising costs for everything from labor to shipping as supply chain backups hit companies worldwide. It is also facing pressures from spiking inflation across all types of items, particularly food. Walmart is monitoring transit and port delays. The company is also chartering vessels for Walmart goods as it moves into the holiday shipping crunch.